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Thread: S. Lukyanenko. The Dreamline . Proofreaders are welcome )))

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    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    S. Lukyanenko. The Dreamline . Proofreaders are welcome )))

    Edit: Changed topic header.

    I chose S. Lukyanenko "The dreamline" for testing myself in fiction translating.

    I'm asking native speakers to check the following chapter for mistakes and style issues. Also I'm concerned about verb+preposition constructions. I would be grateful for any additional remarks.

    EDIT: Made some corrections myself.


    Sergery Lukyanenko
    The Dreamline
    Part one. God the Father and God the Son
    1
    Children were what Kay hated the most. Were this affected by his own childhood in the asylum “The New Generation” on Altos – it was unknown. Whatever the case, he never lingered on one planet any longer than nine months. On the planets which had undergone a fertility treatment during the Feud War and conscientiously worked as suppliers of cannon fodder for the Empire he never stayed longer than four months and a half.
    Besides, Kay didn’t like it to be killed. It was quite painful sometimes and it was always associated with considerable expenses. And Kay needed money. He loved his hyperboat which demanded expensive maintenance, women who didn’t demand this much, wines of Empire and Mrshhan association, fragrances worked by the old Klackon masters and such pleasures of other races which human can understand and endure.
    Now his two antipathies have joined together. And the most unpleasant thing was not even the fact that he was about to be killed by a kid, for a kid and using one of the most unpleasant ways to do it. The real distress was in the fact that Kay had not yet got around to pay for the aTan renewal.
    And this, as everybody knows, is fatal.
    The hotel room was shabby enough not to kindle some burning interest of robbers and was decent enough to guard Kay from filchers. The boy standing by his bed matched the second category judging by his appearance. Where did he get the electronic key to open the door and the nullifier for blocking the alarms, remained a mystery. The weapon in his hand was easier – algopistols, weapons of sadists and losers, were inexpensive.
    “Let’s do it this way”, offered Kay trying very hard to keep his face calm, “you will turn your gun aside and then we’ll talk. As serious people.”
    The boy smiled, “I am not serious”.
    He didn’t look all that serious indeed – swarthy and dark-haired, the kid was about twelve or thirteen. A jaunty shirt made of pink silk and short white trousers made him appear even less hazardous.
    “Listen”, Kay appealed again, “Even if you throw the gun out of the window…”
    The boy frowned a little.
    “Even if you throw the gun out of the window, I won’t be able to do anything to you! You can see…”
    “I see”
    “I can’t talk with the gun pointed at me…”
    “And why should I talk to you?” the boy was surprised a little.
    In his thoughts Kay praised all known gods. The more is said now, the less would be the chances the punk pushes the trigger. To kill a man whom you’re talking to is not so easy, honestly though, Kay wasn’t so sure about whether this rule was applicable to children.
    “You’re going to kill me, right?” he asked.
    The boy nodded.
    “Death from an algopistol is the most terrible thing one can imagine. Believe me, I know it.”
    “Have you killed?” the boy was interested.
    “I’ve been killed.”
    The kid narrowed his lids. He clearly understood.
    “So,” Kay continued making his voice sound confident and friendly, “If you’re going to use this abomination on me then tell me for what at least. This is not so great a favor, isn’t it?”
    “You’re right”, the boy agreed surprisingly easy. He walked to the armchair that was standing by the wall, sat in it cross-legged and placed the pistol on the arm rest. Unfortunately, he didn’t risk anything. Kay was sprawled on the bed, naked and totally helpless. His body was covered by a thin silvery web that firmly bound Kay to bed-sheet, the bed itself and the wall the bed stood by. The spray container stood on a table where the boy left it as if he was going to repeat the procedure if necessary.
    “So, what ill have I done to you, my little friend?” Key carefully turned his head trying to avoid the thin fibers cutting through his body. “Are you a robber? My congratulations, you’re a gifted one. And lucky too. I’ll tell you where the cash is and the code for the card. I need to fly away tomorrow, so I won’t be looking for you and your police…”
    The boy’s face wavered.
    “I’m not a robber. And you’re not going to fly anywhere. Your flying here was enough.”
    There stood a silence in the room for a moment. Then Kay asked very quietly:
    “Who this girl was to you?”
    “A sister.”
    “My friend, this was a pure accident. I was landing on the field of the spaceport. I landed within the allocated zone…”
    “But you didn’t land within the circle! You killed her deliberately! I know what you’ve said to the flight-control – “I hate children, these little bitches always creep under the nozzles”. Many saw your landing; you’ve swerved over the field in order to hit Lena with the beam!”
    The boy’s voice became thready, cracking. And Kay understood with horror that the boy’s winding himself up. Preparing himself to push the trigger.
    “I didn’t see her, believe me. Why would I want to do it…”
    “Of course, you were just dancing in the air.” the boy assumed with contempt.
    Key chocked on the prepared phrase. How he was supposed to explain to this kid from ghetto that he was indeed dancing? How to express the weight of the piloting headpiece, and the blue haze that surrounds you, and the weightless ship which you became one with? The humming of gravity drives, the air flows, the exhilaration of flight… Yes, he was dancing. And he didn’t look on the concrete plain where stood a girl who bribed some spaceport guard and was waiting for his ship in order to run to the hatch first and to offer the cheapest drugs on the planet, herself as a guide or simply herself…
    He was dancing, and the gravity beam slipped over the girl, rubbing her into concrete and turning her into the bloody dust, into that grayish-brown spot that he saw when he exited the ship.
    “Kid, my autopilot went haywire so I took the control, but the ship swayed…”
    “You’re lying.” the boy said mercilessly, “Everybody in the port knows that your boat is in perfect order.”
    He took the pistol, carefully unlocked it and approached the bed.
    “Listen,” Kay said feeling an icy chill on his skin, “I have the aTan. You won’t be able to kill me permanently, understand? I’ll come back and make you think of algopistol as of a good riddance.”
    “You’re lying” the boy hesitated slightly.
    “No, I’m not. You see my body, there’s not a single scratch on it. Men of my profession don’t look like that. I resuscitated a month ago, you understand?”
    Boy didn’t show any interest in Kay’s profession which Kay vaguely hoped for, but considered the end of the phrase, instead:
    “If you had resuscitated only a month ago you might not have your aTan renewed yet.” he said thoughtfully, “I’ll risk.”
    Kay cried, in his thoughts, of course. He came to Cailis in order to renew his immortality – it was quite cheaper here than on Sigma-T where he’d been killed. He loved money that made his life pleasant and he had just lost this life.
    “At least” he asked quietly, “you can kill me not with the algopistol.” Your sister died instantly, so don’t make me suffer. In this case you’ll have the chance that I won’t be very zealous with the revenge.
    The boy examined Kay carefully, assessing with great interest his neck muscles, and then shook his head:
    “I’m not sure I can strangle you…”
    “In the closet, on the second shelf from the bottom, there is a blaster. An assault “Bumblebee”, you know… the officer’s model. The money and the credit card are there too. The access code is thirty two, orange, “WOLF”. All of that is your prize. Kill me with the blaster.
    “All right” the boy tucked the pistol under his belt and headed for the closet. Key squinted at his left arm. The web covered it poorly holding only the tips of his fingers. The arm was free from the shoulder to the second phalanges.
    “How did you get in the hotel?” asked Kay. He bit his lips in order to feel the taste of blood and the pain and jerked his arm. The polymeric fiber indifferently took the sacrifice disjoining the last phalanges of his four fingers. The thumb remained intact which was good.
    “I passed off for a call-boy” the kid explained carefully opening the closet. “Paid to the receptionist, hey there is only money here and no gun…”
    “Here it is” Kay said taking his hand from under the pillow. The blood from his cut-off fingers gushed out with thin pulsating spurts. The ribbed barrel of the “Bumblebee” wobbled back and forth. The boy turned raising his gun and froze staring at the fancy blood fountains.
    “I hate children” whispered Kay, “pity I didn’t see your sister. I’d killed her deliberately.”
    The stump of his forefinger pushed the trigger. When naked tissues touched metal a sharp pang forced Kay to give a cry. The hand faltered and the thin red beam slipped over the boy’s shoulder. Now it was the boy’s turn to cry either from fright or Kay managed to mark him still. The boy crouched and the algopistol bloomed with a cone of flaring green light. It blended surprisingly well with the splashes of blood.
    It’s hard to miss when shooting a weapon for losers.
    When the field of neuron activator or simply algopistol reached Kay he forgot about the pain in his hand. He himself turned into pain. It happened before, but then his aTan had been paid up and he could believe at least that he would revenge.
    Kay didn’t cry for long, a second later there wasn’t strength left to cry. In a minute an a half of intolerable agony he died, blind, deaf and cut to pieces by the “web” he was writhing in.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Here's the original just in case.


    Сергей ЛУКЬЯНЕНКО

    ЛИНИЯ ГРЕЗ




    ЧАСТЬ ПЕРВАЯ. БОГ-ОТЕЦ И БОГ-СЫН


    1

    Больше всего Кей не любил детей. Сказалось ли на этом его собственное
    детство - в приюте "Новое поколение" на Альтосе, неизвестно. Как бы там ни
    было, он никогда не задерживался на одной планете больше девяти месяцев.
    На тех планетах, которые во время Смутной Войны прошли фертильную
    обработку, и честно служили поставщиками пушечного мяса для Империи, он не
    задерживался более четырех с половиной месяцев.
    Кроме этого Кей не любил, когда его убивали. Порой это было крайне
    болезненно, и всегда - связано с немалыми тратами. А деньги Кею были
    нужны. Он любил свой гиперкатер - требующий дорогостоящего ухода, женщин -
    не требующих столь многого, вина Империи и Мршанской ассоциации, запахи
    работы старых Клаконских мастеров и те удовольствия прочих рас, которые
    способен понять и выдержать человек.
    Сейчас две его антипатии сложились воедино. И самым неприятным было
    не то, что его собирался убить ребенок, из-за ребенка, и одним из самых
    неприятных способов. Беда была в том, что Кей не успел оплатить продление
    аТана.
    А это, как известно, фатально.
    Номер гостиницы был достаточно жалок, чтобы не вызвать жгучего
    интереса грабителей и вполне приличен, чтобы оградить Кея от мелких
    воришек. Мальчишка, стоящий у его кровати, внешне подходил под вторую
    категорию. Откуда он взял электронный ключ чтобы открыть дверь и
    нулификатор для блокирования сигнализации оставалось загадкой. С оружием в
    его руке было проще - алгопистолеты, оружие садистов и неудачников, стоят
    недорого.
    - Давай мы поступим так, - отчаянно стараясь сохранить спокойное лицо
    предложил Кей. - Ты отведешь ствол - и мы поговорим. Как серьезные люди.
    Мальчишка заулыбался:
    - Я несерьезный.
    Он действительно не выглядел слишком серьезным - смуглый черноволосый
    пацан двенадцати-тринадцати лет. Веселенькая рубашка из розового шелка и
    короткие белые брюки придавали ему еще более неопасный вид.
    - Послушай, - вновь воззвал Кей. - Даже если ты выкинешь пистолет в
    окно...
    Мальчик слегка нахмурился.
    - Даже если ты выкинешь пистолет, я ничего не смогу тебе сделать! Ты
    же видишь...
    - Вижу.
    - Я не могу разговаривать под дулом...
    - А зачем мне с тобой разговаривать? - слегка удивился мальчишка.
    Мысленно Кей вознес хвалу всем известным богам. Чем больше сейчас
    будет сказано, тем меньше шансов, что гаденыш нажмет на курок. Убить
    человека, с которым разговариваешь, не так-то легко... правда Кей не был
    уверен, что это правило относится к детям.
    - Ты ведь собираешься меня убить? - поинтересовался он.
    Мальчик молча кивнул.
    - Смерть от алгопистолета - самое страшное, что только можно себе
    представить. Поверь, я это знаю.
    - Убивал? - заинтересовался мальчик.
    - Меня убивали.
    Пацан прищурился. Он явно понял.
    - Так вот, - придавая голосу самый доверительный и дружеский тон
    продолжил Кей, - если уж ты хочешь применить на мне эту мерзость - скажи
    хотя бы, за что. Это не такая уж большая милость, верно?
    - Верно, - неожиданно легко согласился мальчик. Подошел к стоящему у
    стены креслу, уселся в него, заложив ногу за ногу, пристроил пистолет на
    подлокотник. К сожалению, он ничем не рисковал. Кей валялся на кровати,
    голый и совершенно беспомощный. Тонкая серебристая паутина покрывала его
    тело, намертво скрепляя Кея с постелью, кроватью и стеной, у которой
    кровать стояла. Баллончик спрея мальчик поставил на стол - словно
    собирался в случае необходимости повторить процедуру.
    - Так чем я тебе насолил, дружок? - Кей осторожно, чтобы тонкие нити
    не врезались в тело, повернул голову. - Ты грабитель? Поздравляю, ты
    талантлив. И удачлив. Я скажу тебе где наличные, и каков код карточки.
    Завтра мне надо улетать - так что искать тебя я не буду, а ваша полиция...
    Лицо мальчика дрогнуло.
    - Я не грабитель. И никуда ты не улетишь. Достаточно того, что ты
    прилетел.
    На мгновение в номере наступила тишина. Потом Кей спросил - очень
    тихо:
    - Кем была тебе эта девочка?
    - Сестрой.
    - Дружок, это просто несчастный случай. Я садился на поле космодрома.
    Я сел в границах отведенной зоны...
    - Но ты сел не в круге! Ты убил ее - нарочно! Я знаю, что ты сказал
    диспетчеру - "ненавижу детей, вечно эти маленькие сучки лезут под дюзы".
    Твою посадку видели многие - ты вильнул над полем, чтобы ударить Ленку
    лучом!
    Голос мальчика стал тонким, срывающимся. И Кей с ужасом понял - он
    взвинчивает себя. Взвинчивает, чтобы нажать на курок.
    - Я не видел ее, поверь. Зачем мне нужно было...
    - Ну да, ты танцевал в воздухе, - с презрением предположил мальчик.
    Кей поперхнулся заготовленной фразой. Как объяснить этому мальчишке
    из трущоб, что он действительно танцевал? Как передать тяжесть пилотажного
    шлема, и голубизну вокруг, и невесомый корабль, которым ты стал? Гул
    гравитационных двигателей, потоки воздушных течений, опьянение полета...
    Да, он танцевал. И не смотрел на бетонную равнину, на которой девчонка,
    давшая мелкую взятку охранникам космопорта, ждала его корабль - чтобы
    первой подбежать к люку, предложить самые дешевые на планете наркотики,
    себя в качестве гида - или просто себя...
    Он танцевал. И гравилуч скользнул по девчонке, втирая ее в бетон,
    превращая в кровавую пыль, в то серо-бурое пятно, которое он увидел, выйдя
    из корабля.
    - Мальчик, у меня барахлил автопилот. Я взял управление, но корабль
    при этом качнуло...
    - Ты врешь, - безжалостно сообщил мальчишка. - Все в порту знают -
    твой катер в полном порядке.
    Он взял пистолет, аккуратно снял его с предохранителя и подошел к
    кровати.
    - Слушай, - ощущая ледяной холодок на коже, сказал Кей. - У меня
    аТан. Ты не сможешь меня убить насовсем, понимаешь? Я вернусь и сделаю с
    тобой такое, что алгопистолет покажется лишь избавлением.
    - Ты врешь, - едва заметно заколебался мальчишка.
    - Нет. Ты видишь мое тело - на нем ни царапины. Люди моей профессии
    так не выглядят. Я оживал месяц назад, понимаешь?
    Мальчик не заинтересовался профессией Кея - на что тот смутно
    надеялся. Зато оценил конец фразы.
    - Если ты оживал месяц назад, то мог еще не возобновить аТан, -
    задумчиво произнес он. - Я рискну.
    Кей закричал. Мысленно, конечно. Он прилетел на Каилис, чтобы
    возобновить свое бессмертие - здесь это было не в пример дешевле Сигмы-Т,
    где его убили. Он любил деньги - которые делали жизнь приятной. И потерял
    эту жизнь.
    - По крайней мере, - тихо попросил он, - ты можешь убить меня не из
    алгопистолета. Твоя сестра умерла мгновенно - не мучай меня. Тогда у тебя
    будет шанс, что я не стану слишком усердствовать с местью.
    Мальчик внимательно осмотрел Кея, с особым вниманием оценивая шейную
    мускулатуру. И покачал головой:
    - Не уверен, что смогу тебя задушить...
    - В шкафу, на второй полке снизу, бластер. Десантный "Шмель", знаешь,
    офицерская модель. Там же деньги и кредитка. Код доступа - тридцать два,
    оранжевый, "ВОЛК". Все это твой приз. Убей меня из бластера.
    - Ладно, - мальчик, засунув пистолет за пояс, направился к шкафу. Кей
    скосил глаза на свою левую руку. Паутина легла на нее плохо - прихватив
    лишь кончики пальцев. От плеча и до вторых фаланг рука была свободной.
    - Как ты прошел в гостиницу? - поинтересовался Кей. Закусил губы -
    так, чтобы почувствовать вкус крови и боль. И рванул руку. Полимерная нить
    равнодушно приняла жертву, отделив последние фаланги четырех пальцев.
    Большой палец остался невредим. Хорошо.
    - Я представился мальчиком по вызову, - осторожно открывая шкаф
    объяснил пацан. - Заплатил портье... Эй, здесь только деньги, пистолета
    нет...
    - Вот он, - вынимая руку из-под подушки сообщил Кей. Кровь из
    обрубленных пальцев била тонкими пульсирующими струйками. Ребристый ствол
    "Шмеля" ходил ходуном. Мальчишка повернулся, поднимая пистолет, и замер,
    глядя на затейливые кровяные фонтанчики.
    - Ненавижу детей, - прошептал Кей. - Жаль, что не увидел твоей сестры
    - убил бы ее сознательно.
    Обрубок указательного пальца надавил на курок. Когда обнаженные ткани
    задели металл, резкий укол боли заставил Кея вскрикнуть. Рука дрогнула, и
    тонкий красный луч скользнул над плечом мальчишки. Теперь закричал тот -
    или от страха, или Кей его все же зацепил. Мальчишка присел - и
    алгопистолет расцвел конусом мерцающего зеленого света. Он удивительно
    удачно сочетался с брызгами крови.
    Из оружия для неудачников трудно промазать.
    Когда поле нейронного активатора - в просторечии, алгопистолета,
    коснулось Кея, он забыл про боль в руке. Он весь стал болью. Это уже
    случалось - но тогда его аТан был оплачен. И он мог по крайней мере
    верить, что отомстит...
    Кей кричал недолго - через секунду у него уже не осталось сил на
    крик. Через полторы минуты невыносимой муки он умер - ослепший, оглохший,
    изрезанный на куски "паутиной", в которой бился.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  3. #3
    Почтенный гражданин
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    I have to leave very soon, but

    "Were this affected by his own childhood in the asylum “The New Generation” on Altos – it was unknown."

    "Were" is definitely incorrect here.

    Better this way:

    It was (or is) unknown if this was due to his own childhood in the New Generation Asylum on Altos.

    The opening of the next sentence would be better as "In any event".

    I'll try to do more later.

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    Whether this was affected by ... Altos was not known.
    four and a half months
    didn't like to be killed
    expense.
    hyperboat, which
    (since you just used "expense" I would use "costly" next)
    rest of sentence I don't understand.
    humans

    ... I'm ready to pass the baton....

  5. #5
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    I continue, feel free to add comments:

    2

    Death is the last adventure. Resurrection doesn’t bear anything new in it; it is like the ordinary awakening.
    At first, Kay saw a light. Then there was a knobby grey tower, raising over him and as motionless as if it were dead. It must be said however that the dispute about whether the term ‘life’ is applicable to the Silicoids has been lasting for several hundred years already.
    “Name” the word came from within the grey surface.
    Ignoring the question, Kay raised a little. The Silicoid didn’t try to stop him. This race moved with reluctance except the cases when they were in for kill.
    The room where he was in was well familiar. It was a reanimation module of the aTan company save the wall screen where the name of a planet should be displayed was turned off. Kay was lying on a white disk two meters in diameter – a molecular replicator which had just recreated his body, new and healthy as it had been stored seventeen years before. An open framework of aTan-emitter which had pushed into his new brain all his childish grievances, mistakes of youth and adult crimes – everything that comprised the Kay’s personality, hanged over the head. He was resurrected. Resurrected in spite of his aTan wasn’t paid up?
    “Name?” patiently repeated the Silicoid.
    “Kay Altos.”
    “Citizenship?”
    “Human Empire.”
    “Code?”
    The Silicoid’s voice came from the whole surface of his body. Lacking the vocal ligaments and respiratory tract he talked by exerting his silica muscles and vibrating the whole surface of his body. This created a strange polyphony and volume as if the whole choir whispered the words in unison.
    “Three, nine, six, three, one, four, nine, one” said Kay in a low voice. One shouldn’t flaunt the personal code even in the aTan company which knew it all too well anyway. Squinting he looked at his left hand – the fingers were intact. No, he has not been patched by surgeons, he has been indeed resurrected. But why?
    “The code is correct” the Silicoid turned away which was simply an act of politeness and floated towards the exit. Blue sparks were crackling under the bottom of the gray column. Before the opened door he stayed for a moment and Kay thought he felt the impossible, that the Silicoid was smiling.
    “And who’s going to tell me what all of this is about?” asked Kay rhetorically looking at the bas-reliefs on the walls – there were flowers, naked women, naked men…
    “I am.”
    Kay turned around. There was a man sitting not far away from the replication disk. This was something at least. Kay wasn’t a racist but a heart-to-heart conversation with a Silicoid was beyond his comprehension. The man seemed to be in a friendly mood. Judging by his appearance, he was about forty to forty five with a sleek face, physically not very developed. Even his bouffant gray suit couldn’t conceal this fact. An aTan official? Not from the very bottom, but not from the very top…
    “Thank you for a new life” said Kay taking his legs down from the disk.
    “You’re welcome”
    The words were normal, but it was the tone that Kay didn’t like. He chose to remain silent.
    “So, what are the questions?”
    “I…” Kay stopped.
    “Come on, come on…” the man apparently enjoyed the conversation. “You didn’t pay for the aTan? I’m aware of that.”
    “I have the money. I renewed my immortality six times and…”
    “That doesn’t matter. The rules of the company are simple – you pay for immortality in advance and for only one time ahead. Do you know why?”
    Kay shook his head. The man, as it appeared, belonged to the sort of people who were able to speculate for hours on the nuances of ceremonial gastronomy of the Bulrathi, advantages of interphased drives for small ships, or about tactical blunders of the Mrshan in the Feud War. These speculations are usually entertaining, but almost always are ill-timed.
    When the Psilonians were selling a device which was later named aTan to people, to very far seeing people, as you understand, they’d laid only one condition. A very strange condition if one doesn’t know their psychology. They demanded that aTan would have to be granted only once during a lifetime. Do you understand, Kay? They value life very much, but they are afraid of immortality. And what did we do?
    Kay shrugged his shoulders.
    “We proved to them, but only after the contract had been signed, that a resurrected man would be a new person. A legal successor of the previous one, but new nevertheless. And he would have the right to sign for the aTan once again. Wasn’t that good?”
    “Great” Kay searched for clothes with his eyes without success and prepared to wait.
    The man laughed.
    “Never mind, I’ve got distracted. What do you want to ask?”
    “Where am I? Is it Cailis?
    “No, you’re not on Cailis, it’s Terra.”
    If the man wanted Kay’s face showed surprise then he wasn’t disappointed. Kay chose not to hide his emotions particularly when they were flattering to the stronger opponent.
    “But aTan doesn’t have offices on Terra…”
    “This is not a company’s office. It’s a private aTan.”
    Kay forced a laugh and raised his hands helplessly:
    “That’s great. I didn’t hear it and you didn’t tell me that. The company has the exclusive right and there are no private resurrectors…”
    “You’re wrong, Kay Altos. The exclusive right was granted to a private person. This private person founded the aTan company.”
    “I know who you are.” said Kay, “You are Curtis Van Curtis, the owner of the aTan company, the oldest man in the galaxy.”
    Curtis nodded.
    “Well done, Kay. Now they will bring you some clothes and we’ll go to my summer office to drink some wine. You’re a very lucky person. Not only you got a new life, but also landed a great job.”
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  6. #6
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    aThan - насколько я помню, название компании и технологии происходит от "а" + "танатос" (thanatos). В английском, кстати, есть родственное слово athanasia (бессмертие).

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    Thanks, here's the next part:

    3

    There are private ownerships fenced off by iridescent walls of force fields and the name of the aThan company on the shores of the Lake of Geneva, in the Amazon rainforests, in the Baltic deserts, on the swampy lowlands of China, and in the Siberian taiga . All of them are the parts of Curtis’ estate interconnected with hypertunnels into a single whole. Even if you had managed somehow to look through the force fields from the outside you would see only the strange fragments of buildings with balustrades leading to nowhere and galleries rising from the air. The picture from the inside would be quite different. You would see the whole palace that was born by crazy imagination and by even more crazy money. You can take a funicular and go up to the top of Everest and skid down directly into the crystal waters of the Baikal Lake. Having swum a little in the icy waters of the Siberian Lake you can come ashore on a hot Cuban beach. And if you are invited to visit the owner of the company after your walk it would take you no more than a couple of minutes to get to his thousand feet high spire-house in Geneva.
    Kay stood on the open pad that topped the building. Wind was fluttering his hair as if it was inviting to feel the short joy of free fall. An invisible force field must surely have surrounded this “study” in the open air, although it was uncertain whether Curtis having infinite number of lives was afraid of falling from the top of his tower. At this thought Kay stepped away from the fenceless edge. Curtis needed him for some purpose, but his value could drop down along with his body. A good employee shouldn’t have a dizzy head.
    “Do you like the wine, Kay?”
    Kay took a little sip from his glass.
    “Yes, Van Curtis, this is a rare sort… but I prefer the blue sorts of Mrshan wines.”
    “Perhaps, you’re right. But the yellow sorts are better for your health; they don’t damage the liver and prolong life.”
    This resembled a mockery, but Kay remained silent. He was turning an ancient crystal wineglass in his hands that was worth probably no less than immortality and looking at Curtis. The aThan’s owner sat at the simple wooden table with identical wineglass in his hands. There was only one armchair on the pad – this was either an intentional neglect or else nobody was granted the honor of sitting beside Curtis on the top of his empire.
    “How do you find the look?” Curtis inquired.
    “Dizzy” Kay murmured, “I prefer to look afar.”
    “It’s like a kaleidoscope isn’t it?” Curtis laughed. “I understand… deserts, lakes, oceans, forests, steppes and all of this is on such a plot of land. I don’t need much, Kay. I don’t need the Red sea of the whole Himalaya even though I could buy them. A little bit of everything. Sobriety and variety – these are the keys for not losing interest in prolonged life. You don’t understand it yet, young man. You resuscitated six times save today. But none of your aThans lasted more than five years. It’s a spendthrift. Even having the qualification and incomes of yours it won’t last for long.”
    “What do you want, Van Curtis?” asked Kay wearily, “Even life as a gift isn’t worth moral teachings.” He approached Curtis and sat on the table.
    “I need you to die for me, permanently and irrevocably... or to get an eternal life. This would depend on how will you do.”
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    Re: Please check my translation.

    I'm dividing up your paragraphs just to make it easier to write comments.

    Children were what Kay hated the most. Were this affected by his own childhood in the asylum “The New Generation” on Altos – it was unknown. Whatever the case, he never lingered on one planet any longer than nine months.

    On the planets which had undergone a fertility treatment during the Feud War and conscientiously worked as suppliers of cannon fodder for the Empire he never stayed longer than four months and a half.
    --This would be better style with the subject at the beginning, and it is also a little bit too long. You can break it into two sentences, and in fiction you can even use a sentence fragment like this: "He made it a point never to stay longer than four and a half months on planets which had undergone fertility treatment during the Feud War. Conscientious suppliers of cannon fodder."

    Besides, Kay also hated to be killed. --Later you wrote "his two antipathies". If you put "hate" here then it matches with "hate" at the top and you can have "his two hatreds" below.

    It was quite painful sometimes and was always associated with considerable expense. --removed "it" and changed last word to singular

    And Kay needed money. --normally it is bad writing style to start with "and", but in this sort of fiction it is actually very good!

    He loved his hyperboat, which demanded expensive maintenance, women who demanded only slightly less, wines of the Empire and the Mrshhan association, perfumes worked by the old Klackon masters and whatever pleasures of other races a human being can understand and endure.
    --"Hypership" might sound a little more like other science fiction in English.

    Now his two hatreds have joined together. --see comments above

    And the most unpleasant thing was not even the fact that he was about to be killed by a kid, to be killed for a kid, and to be killed in one of the most unpleasant ways possible. --The best/worst way to do something is the "best/worst way possible".

    No, the real distress was in the fact that Kay still hadn't gotten around to paying for his aTan renewal. --This sentence is humorous, but it will confuse the reader about what "aTan" is. It should be changed to something that sounds more familiar. It can still be a funny word, but it has to be one a reader can guess the meaning of.

    And this, as everyone knows, is fatal.

    The hotel room was shabby enough not to kindle some burning interest of robbers and was decent enough to guard Kay from filchers. --I like "kindle" and "burning" but it doesn't quite fit well here. I would remove it and change it this way "The hotel room was shabby enough not to attract the interest of professional thieves, but decent enough to keep Kay safe from casual filchers."

    The boy standing by his bed was in the second category judging by his appearance.

    Where did he got the electronic key to open the door and a nullifier for blocking the alarms remained a mystery.

    The weapon in his hand was easier – algopistols, the weapon of sadists and losers, were inexpensive.

  9. #9
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    Re: Please check my translation.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    I'm dividing up your paragraphs just to make it easier to write comments.
    Thanks, your help is much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    --This would be better style with the subject at the beginning, and it is also a little bit too long. You can break it into two sentences, and in fiction you can even use a sentence fragment.
    I thought about it. Still I was trying to remain as close to the original as possible.


    He loved his hyperboat, which demanded expensive maintenance, women who demanded only slightly less,
    About hyperboat. Well there's the difference in the original between the гиперкатер (a small ship as I understood) and корабль (a bigger ship).
    Thus, I chose to pick another word.
    And about women who demanded only slightly less. Here we can see in the original:

    гиперкатер - требующий дорогостоящего ухода, женщин -
    не требующих столь многого,


    ...women who don't demand this much (well, they are called 'easy women' as I understand).

    This sentence is humorous, but it will confuse the reader about what "aTan" is. It should be changed to something that sounds more familiar. It can still be a funny word, but it has to be one a reader can guess the meaning of.
    Well, that was the author's intention I guess. There's no such word as аТан in Russian either, still the meaning of it is explained a few paragraphs further.

    And this, as everyone knows, is fatal.
    Is there some mnemonic rule I should remember for using everybody vs. everyone?
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    One general comment. Kay is usually a woman's name or nickname in English. It might be a little confusing, so you could change it to "Kae" or "Kai" or "something else if you like.

    “Let’s do things this way”, offered Kay, trying very hard to keep his face calm, “you'll put your gun down and then we’ll talk. Like serious people.”

    The boy smiled, “I am not serious”. --excellent. A good place to NOT use a contraction

    He indeed didn’t look all that serious – swarthy and dark-haired, about twelve or thirteen. --changed order and took out some words

    A jaunty shirt made of pink silk and short white trousers made him appear even less hazardous. --"hazardous" is PERFECT. I love it.

    “Listen”, Kay appealed again, “Even if you threw the gun out the window…” --we just say "out the window"

    The boy frowned a little.
    “Even if you threw the gun out the window, I wouldn't be able to do anything! You see…”--removed "can"
    Yes...”
    “I can’t talk with a gun pointed at me…”
    “And why should I talk to you?” The boy was a little surprised.--just changed the order.

    In his mind Kay praised all known gods.

    The more he talked now, the slimmer the chances of the punk pulling the trigger. --English idiom "slim chance". Also, triggers are pulled.

    It's not that easy to kill a man you are talking to, --changed order

    but frankly Kay wasn’t so sure if this rule was applicable to children.
    “You’re going to kill me, right?” he asked.
    The boy nodded.
    “Death from an algopistol is about the most terrible thing one can imagine. Believe me, I know.” --removed "it" at the end

    “Have you killed someone?” the boy was interested.
    “I’ve been killed.”
    The kid narrowed his eyes. He clearly understood.
    “So,” Kay continued making his voice sound confident and friendly, “if you’re going to use this abomination on me then at least tell me why.

    This isn't much of a favor you're doing me, is it?”--This is my best guess. This sentence didn't translate well, and my Russian isn't good enough to do it myself. Also, tags have to be the opposite of the main verb. "It is a nice day, isn't it." "It isn't very cold today, is it"

    “You’re right”, the boy agreed quite easily. --"Surprisingly easy" is grammatical and makes, but just doesn't work. To get that same sense you you have make it much longer like this: "I was surprised at how easily he agreed."

    He walked to the armchair by the wall, sat in it cross-legged and placed the pistol on the arm rest. --took out a few words

    Unfortunately, he didn’t take any chances.

    Kay was soon sprawled on the bed, naked and totally helpless. --I assume that the kid tied Kay to the bed, so a little time word helps make a transition here.

    His body was covered by a thin silvery web that firmly bound Kay to bed-sheet, the bed itself, and the wall. --removed a few words

    The spray container stood on a table where the boy left it as if he was going to repeat the procedure if necessary.

  11. #11
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    Re: Please check my translation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    I'm dividing up your paragraphs just to make it easier to write comments.
    Thanks, your help is much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    --This would be better style with the subject at the beginning, and it is also a little bit too long. You can break it into two sentences, and in fiction you can even use a sentence fragment.
    I thought about it. Still I was trying to remain as close to the original as possible.


    He loved his hyperboat, which demanded expensive maintenance, women who demanded only slightly less,
    About hyperboat. Well there's the difference in the original between the гиперкатер (a small ship as I understood) and корабль (a bigger ship).
    Thus, I chose to pick another word.
    And about women who demanded only slightly less. Here we can see in the original:

    гиперкатер - требующий дорогостоящего ухода, женщин -
    не требующих столь многого,


    ...women who don't demand this much (well, they are called 'easy women' as I understand).

    [quote:3usawg3g]This sentence is humorous, but it will confuse the reader about what "aTan" is. It should be changed to something that sounds more familiar. It can still be a funny word, but it has to be one a reader can guess the meaning of.
    Well, that was the author's intention I guess. There's no such word as аТан in Russian either, still the meaning of it is explained a few paragraphs further.

    And this, as everyone knows, is fatal.
    Is there some mnemonic rule I should remember for using everybody vs. everyone?[/quote:3usawg3g]

    In the world of boating ship=big and boat=smaller, but not in science fiction. Usually they are all "ships", whether they are big or small. Another possible choice would be "hypercraft", but that doesn't sound any better.

    I see about the women. I suggest "women who demand very little".

    On everybody vs everyone, I don't think there is a rule. They mean the same thing. I just thought in that case "everyone" sounded better.

    One of my ESL Teaching professors had a story about learning Japanese. He said some nouns in Japanese would end with -wa, and some would end with -ga. He asked many people to explain how you know which one to use, but no one could tell him. They just said "it is the Japanese way." After spending some time in Japan, he started using -ga sometimes and -wa sometimes. Some things in language are a mystery

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    “Have you killed someone?” the boy was interested.
    I should disagree on this. The boy asked whether Kay killed people in general.
    Compare:
    Ты убивал? (indefinite) vs.
    Ты убил кого-нибудь? (perfect)

    At first I wanted to translate: Have you been killing?
    What would be the best choice?


    Kay was soon sprawled on the bed, naked and totally helpless. --I assume that the kid tied Kay to the bed, so a little time word helps make a transition here.
    Kay had been already sprawled by the time the conversation took place. The boy glued him with spray. Why did you insert 'soon'?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    “Have you killed someone?” the boy was interested.
    I should disagree on this. The boy asked whether Kay killed people in general.
    Compare:
    Ты убивал? (indefinite) vs.
    Ты убил кого-нибудь? (perfect)

    At first I wanted to translate: Have you been killing?
    What would be the best choice?


    Kay was soon sprawled on the bed, naked and totally helpless. --I assume that the kid tied Kay to the bed, so a little time word helps make a transition here.
    Kay had been already sprawled by the time the conversation took place. The boy glued him with spray. Why did you insert 'soon'?
    On killing--there isn't a good way to make this a past imperfect in English. Unfortunately sometimes you have to decide whether you want a very accurate translation or one that sounds right in the target language. These all sound fine:
    Have you ever killed someone?
    Have you killed before?
    Have you killed a lot of people?
    But these don't fit well (in this situation):
    Are you a killer?
    Are you in the habit of killing people?
    Do you kill people often?

    On inserting "soon"--that was my mistake. I thought Kay was being tied up DURING the conversation. It feels a little strange that the author didn't mention it earlier, but that is the author's problem, not your problem. Leave it just as you wrote it.

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    Re: Please check my translation.

    In order to understand the story I start here and apologize for repeating any suggested corrections, alternative words, optional words, and moved words:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Sergery Lukyanenko
    The Dreamline
    Part one. God the Father and God the Son
    1
    Children were what Kay hated the most. Whether this was affected by his own childhood in the asylum “The New Generation” on Altos – was/is unknown. Whatever the case, he never lingered on one planet any longer than nine months. On the planets which had undergone a fertility treatment during the Feud War and which conscientiously worked as suppliers of cannon fodder for the Empire he never stayed longer than four and a half months.
    Besides, Kay didn’t like to be/didn't like being killed. It was quite painful sometimes and it was always associated with considerable expenses. And Kay needed money. He loved his hypership which was expensive to maintain. W didn’t demand this much, wines of the Empire and Mrshhan association, fragrances worked by the old Klackon masters and such pleasures of other races which humans can understand and endure.
    Now his two antipathies have been joined together. And the most unpleasant thing was not even the fact that he was about to be killed by a kid, but that the kid and using one of the most unpleasant ways to do it. The real distress was in the fact that Kay had not yet gotten around to paying for the aTan renewal.
    And this, as everybody knows, is fatal.
    The hotel room was shabby enough so that it didn't kindle some burning interest of robbers and was decent enough to guard Kay from filchers. The boy standing by his bed matched the second category judging by his appearance. Where he got the electronic key to open the door and the nullifier for blocking the alarms, remained a mystery. The weapon in his hand was easier – an algopistol, the weapon of sadists and losers, and was inexpensive/cheap.
    “Let’s do it this way”, offered Kay trying very hard to keep his face calm, “you will turn your gun aside/you will put your gun down and then we’ll talk, as serious people/we'll talk seriously.”
    The boy smiled, “I am not serious.
    He didn’t look all that serious, indeed – swarthy and dark-haired, the kid was only about twelve or thirteen. A jaunty shirt made of pink silk and short white trousers made him appear even less hazardous.
    “Listen”, Kay appealed again, “Even if you throw the gun out of the window…”
    The boy frowned a little.
    “Even if you throw the gun out of the window, I won’t be able to do anything to you! You can see…”
    “I see”
    “I can’t talk with the gun pointed at me…”
    “And why should I talk to you?” the boy was a little surprised.
    In his thoughts Kay praised all the known gods. The more that is said now, the less would be the chances that the punk pushes the trigger. To kill a man whom you’re talking to is not so easy, honestly though, Kay wasn’t so sure about whether this rule was applicable/rule applied to children.
    “You’re going to kill me, right?” he asked.
    The boy nodded.
    “Death from an algopistol is the most terrible thing one can imagine. Believe me, I know it.”
    “Have you killed?” the boy was interested.
    “I’ve been killed.”
    The kid narrowed his lids. He clearly understood.
    “So,” Kay continued making his voice sound confident and friendly, “If you’re going to use this abomination on me then tell me for what reason/tell me why at least. This is not so great a favor, is it?”
    “You’re right”, the boy agreed surprisingly easy. He walked to the armchair that was standing by the wall, sat in it cross-legged and placed the pistol on the arm rest. Unfortunately, he didn’t risk anything: Kay was sprawled on the bed, naked and totally helpless. His body was covered by a thin silvery web that firmly bound Kay to the bed sheet, the bed itself and the wall the bed stood by. The spray container stood on a table where the boy had left it as if he was going to repeat the procedure if necessary.
    “So, what ill have I done to you, my little friend?” Kay carefully turned his head trying to avoid the thin fibers cutting through his body. “Are you a robber? My congratulations, you’re a gifted one. And lucky too. I’ll tell you where the cash is and the code for the card. I need to fly away tomorrow, so I won’t be looking for you and your/the police…”
    The boy’s face wavered.
    “I’m not a robber. And you’re not going to fly anywhere. Your flying here was enough.”
    The room was silent for a moment. Then Kay asked very quietly:
    “Who was this girl to you?”
    “A sister.”
    “My friend, this was a pure/simple/this was only an accident. I was landing in the field at the spaceport. I landed within the allocated/designated zone…”
    “But you didn’t land within the circle! You killed her deliberately! I know what you’ve said to flight control – “I hate children, these little bastards always creep under the nozzles”. Many saw your landing; you swerved over the field in order to hit Lena with the beam!”
    The boy’s voice became thready/strained and cracking. And Kay understood with horror that the boy was winding himself up, preparing himself to push the trigger.
    “I didn’t see her, believe me. Why would I want to do it…”
    “Of course, you were just dancing in the air.” the boy assumed with contempt.
    Key choked up on the prepared phrase. How was he supposed to explain to this kid from ghetto that he was indeed dancing? How could he express the weight of the piloting headpiece, and the blue haze that surrounds you, and the weightless ship that you became one with? The humming of the gravity drives, the air flows, the exhilaration of flight… Yes, he was dancing. And he didn’t look on the concrete plain where there stood/where there was standing a girl who had bribed some/a spaceport guard and who was waiting for his ship to land in order to run to the hatch first and to offer the cheapest drugs on the planet, herself as a guide or simply herself…
    He was dancing, and the gravity beam slipped over the girl, rubbing her into the concrete and turning her into bloody dust, into that grayish-brown spot that he saw when he exited the ship.
    “Kid, my autopilot went haywire so I took the control, but the ship swayed…”
    “You’re lying.” the boy said mercilessly/unmercifully, “Everybody in the port knows that your ship is in perfect working order.”
    He took the pistol, carefully unlocked it and approached the bed.
    “Listen,” Kay said feeling an icy chill on his skin, “I have the aTan. You won’t be able to kill me permanently, understand? I’ll come back and make you think of the algopistol as a good riddance/as throw-away.”
    “You’re lying” the boy hesitated slightly.
    “No, I’m not. You see my body, there’s not a single scratch on it. Men of my profession don’t look like this. I regenerated a month ago, you understand?”
    The boy didn’t show any interest in Kay’s profession which Kay had vaguely hoped for, but considered the end of the phrase, instead:
    “If you had regenerated only a month ago you might not have your aTan renewed yet.” he said thoughtfully, “I’ll risk it.”
    Kay cried, in his thoughts, of course. He came to Cailis in order to renew his immortality – it was quite cheaper here than on Sigma-T where he’d been killed. He loved money that made his life pleasant and he had just lost this life.
    “At least” he asked quietly, “you can kill me with something other than the algopistol.” Your sister died instantly, so don’t make me suffer. In this case you’ll have the chance that I won’t be very zealous in taking my revenge.
    The boy examined Kay carefully, looking with great interest at his neck muscles, and then shook his head:
    “I’m not sure I can strangle you…”
    “In the closet, on the second shelf from the bottom, there is a blaster. An assault “Bumblebee”, you know… the officer’s model. The money and the credit card are there too. The access code is thirty two, orange, “WOLF”. All of that is your prize. Kill me with the blaster./All of that is for you if you kill me with the blaster.
    “All right” the boy tucked the pistol under his belt and headed for the closet. Kay squinted at his left arm. The web covered it poorly holding only the tips of his fingers. The arm was free from the shoulder to the second phalanges/finger bones.
    “How did you get in the hotel?” asked Kay. He bit his lips in order to feel the taste of blood and the pain and then jerked his arm. The polymeric fiber indifferently took the sacrifice disjoining/severing the last phalanges/finger bones of his four fingers. The thumb remained intact, which was good.
    “I passed off for a call-boy” the kid explained carefully opening the closet. “I paid a bribe to the receptionist. Hey there is only money here and no gun…”
    “Here it is” Kay said taking his hand from under the pillow. The blood from his cut-off fingers gushed out in thin pulsating spurts. The ribbed barrel of the “Bumblebee” wobbled back and forth. The boy turned raising his gun and froze staring at the fancy blood fountains.
    “I hate children” whispered Kay, “pity I didn’t see your sister. I’d have killed her deliberately.”
    The stump of his forefinger pushed the trigger. When the naked tissues touched the metal a sharp pang forced Kay to give a cry/to cry out. His hand faltered and the thin red beam slipped/slid over the boy’s shoulder. Now it was the boy’s turn to cry out either from fright or that Kay had managed to mark him still. The boy crouched and the algopistol bloomed/flared with a cone of green light. It blended surprisingly well with the splashes of/with the splasing blood.
    It’s hard to miss when shooting a weapon for losers. (at losers?)
    When the field of the neuron activator from the algopistol reached Kay he forgot about the pain in his hand. He himself/His whole body turned into pain. It happened before, but then his aTan had been paid up and he could believe at least that he would regenerate and take his revenge.
    Kay didn’t cry out for long, a second later there wasn’t strength left to cry out. In a minute and a half of intolerable agony he died: blind, deaf and cut to pieces by the “web” he was writhing in.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    2

    Death is the last adventure. Resurrection/Regeneration doesn’t bear anything new in it; it is like an ordinary awakening.
    At first, Kay saw a light. Then there was a knobby grey tower, raised up/rising up over him and as motionless as if it were dead. It must be said however that the dispute about whether the term ‘life’ is applicable to the Silicoids has been lasting/ongoing for several hundred years already.
    “Name” the word came from within the grey surface.
    Ignoring the question, Kay raised himself up/Kay rose up a little. The Silicoid didn’t try to stop him. This race moved with reluctance except for the case when they were in it for the kill.
    The room that he was in was very familiar to him. It was a reanimation module of the aTan company except that the wall screen where the name of a planet should be displayed was turned off. Kay was lying on a white disk two meters in diameter – a molecular replicator which had just recreated his body, as new and healthy as it had been stored/regenerated seventeen years before. The open framework of an aTan-emitter which had pushed into his new brain all his childish grievances, mistakes of youth and adult crimes – everything that comprised Kay’s personality, was hanging over his head. He was resurrected/regenerated. Resurrected/Regenerated in spite of the fact that his aTan wasn’t paid up?
    “Name?” patiently repeated the Silicoid.
    “Kay Altos.”
    “Citizenship?”
    “Human Empire.”
    “Code?”
    The Silicoid’s voice came from the whole surface of his body. Lacking vocal ligaments and a respiratory tract he talked/spoke by exerting his silica muscles and vibrating the whole surface of his body. This created a strange polyphony and volume as if the whole choir whispered the words in unison.
    “Three, nine, six, three, one, four, nine, one” said Kay in a low voice. One shouldn’t flaunt the personal code even in the aTan company which knew it all too well anyway. Squinting he looked at his left hand – the fingers were intact. No, he has not been patched by surgeons, he has been indeed resurrected/regenerated. But why?
    “The code is correct” the Silicoid said as it turned away, which was simply an act of politeness, and floated towards the exit. Blue sparks were crackling under the bottom of the gray column. Before the opened door he stayed for a moment and Kay thought that he felt/saw the impossible, that the Silicoid was smiling.
    “And who’s going to tell me what all of this is about?” asked Kay rhetorically looking at the bas-reliefs on the walls – there were flowers, naked women, naked men…
    “I am.”
    Kay turned around. There was a man sitting not far away from the replication disk. This was something at least. Kay wasn’t a racist but a heart-to-heart conversation with a Silicoid was beyond his comprehension. The man seemed to be in a friendly mood. Judging by his appearance, he was about forty to forty five with a sleek face, physically not very developed. Even his bouffant gray suit couldn’t conceal this fact. An aTan official? Not from the very bottom, but not from the very top…
    “Thank you for a new life” said Kay taking/setting his legs down from the disk.
    “You’re welcome”
    The words were normal, but it was the tone that Kay didn’t like. He chose to remain silent.
    “So, what are the questions?”
    “I…” Kay stopped.
    “Come on, come on…” the man apparently enjoyed the conversation. “You didn’t pay for the aTan? I’m aware of that.”
    “I have the money. I renewed my immortality six times and…”
    “That doesn’t matter. The rules of the company are simple – you pay for immortality in advance and for only one time ahead. Do you know why?”
    Kay shook his head. The man, as it appeared, belonged to the sort of people who were able to speculate for hours on the nuances of the ceremonial gastronomy of the Bulrathi, the advantages of interphased drives for small ships, or about the tactical blunders of the Mrshan in the Feud War. These speculations are usually entertaining, but almost always are ill-timed.
    When the Psilonians were selling a device which was later named aTan to people, to very far seeing people, as you understand, they’d laid down only one condition. A very strange condition if one doesn’t know their psychology. They demanded that aTan would have to be granted only once during a lifetime. Do you understand, Kay? They value life very much, but they are afraid of immortality. And what did we do?
    Kay shrugged his shoulders.
    “We proved to them, but only after the contract had been signed, that a resurrected/regenerated man would be a new person. A legal successor of the previous one, but new nevertheless. And he would have the right to sign up for the aTan once again. Wasn’t/Isn't that good?”
    “Great” Kay searched for clothes/clothing with his eyes/Kay looked around for clothing without success and prepared to wait.
    The man laughed.
    “Never mind, I got/was distracted. What do/did you want to ask?”
    “Where am I? Is it Cailis?
    “No, you’re not on Cailis, it’s Terra.”
    If the man wanted Kay’s face to show surprise then he wasn’t disappointed. Kay chose not to hide his emotions particularly when they were flattering to the stronger opponent.
    “But aTan doesn’t have offices on Terra…”
    “This is not a company office. It’s a private aTan.”
    Kay forced a laugh and raised his hands helplessly:
    “That’s great. I didn’t hear it and you didn’t tell me that. The company has the exclusive right and there are no private resurrectors/regenerators…”
    “You’re wrong, Kay Altos. The exclusive right was granted to a private person. This private person founded the aTan company.”
    “I know who you are.” said Kay, “You are Curtis Van Curtis, the owner of the aTan company, and you are the oldest man in the galaxy.”
    Curtis nodded.
    “Well done, Kay. Now they will bring you some clothes and we’ll go to my summer office to drink some wine. You’re a very lucky person. Not only have you got a new life, but you've also landed a great job.”

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    3

    There are private ownerships/properties fenced off by iridescent walls of force fields and the name of the aThan company appears on the shores of the Lake of Geneva, in the Amazon rainforests, in the Baltic deserts, on the swampy lowlands of China, and in the Siberian taiga . All of them are parts of Curtis’/Curtis's estate that are interconnected with hypertunnels into a single whole. Even if you had managed somehow to look through the force fields from the outside you would see only strange fragments of buildings with balustrades leading to nowhere and galleries rising from the air. The picture from the inside would be quite different. You would see the whole palace that was born/conceived and built by crazy imagination and by even more crazy money. You can take a funicular and go up to the top of Everest and skid down directly into the crystal waters of the Baikal Lake. Having swum a little in the icy waters of the/this Siberian Lake you can come ashore on a hot Cuban beach. And if you are invited to visit the owner of the company after your walk it would take you no more than a couple of minutes to get to his thousand foot high spire house in Geneva.
    Kay stood on the open pad that topped the building. Wind was fluttering in his hair as if it was inviting him to feel the short joy of free fall. An invisible force field must surely have surrounded this “study” in the open air, although it was uncertain whether Curtis having an infinite number of lives was afraid of falling from the top of his tower. At this thought Kay stepped away from the fenceless edge. Curtis needed him for some purpose, but his value could drop down along with his body. A good employee shouldn’t have a dizzy head.
    “Do you like the wine, Kay?”
    Kay took a little sip from his glass.
    “Yes, Van Curtis, this is a rare sort… but I prefer the blue sorts/vintages of Mrshan wines.”
    “Perhaps you’re right. But the yellow sorts are better for your health; they don’t damage the liver and prolong life.”
    This resembled a mockery, but Kay remained silent. He was turning an ancient crystal wineglass in his hands that was worth probably no less than immortality and looking at Curtis. The aThan’s owner sat at the simple wooden table with an identical wineglass in his hands. There was only one armchair on the pad – this was either due to intentional neglect or else nobody/no one was granted the honor of sitting beside Curtis on the top of his empire.
    “How do you find the look?” Curtis inquired.
    “Dizzy” Kay murmured, “I prefer to look afar/in the distance.”
    “It’s like a kaleidoscope isn’t it?” Curtis laughed. “I understand… deserts, lakes, oceans, forests, steppes, and all of this is on such a plot of land. I don’t need much, Kay. I don’t need the Red Sea of the whole of the Himalayas even though I could buy them. A little bit of everything. Sobriety and variety – these are the keys for not losing interest in a prolonged life. You don’t understand it yet, young man. You resuscitated/regenerated six times save today. But none of your aThans lasted more than five years. You are a spendthrift. Even with your qualifications and income yours won’t last for long.”
    “What do you want, Van Curtis?” asked Kay wearily, “Even life as a gift isn’t worth moral teachings.” He approached Curtis and sat on the table.
    “I need you to die for me, permanently and irrevocably... or to get an eternal life. This would depend on how you will do.”

  17. #17
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    Thanks a lot, paulb and Ken Watts your help is appreciated.

    I should say that this project is not in any way commercial and for learning purposes only. After this little disclaimer I continue:

    4
    “Far away from Earth, far away from Cailis, where you’ve been killed, Kay…” Van Curtis stood on the edge of the pad looking down. There were a bit of ocean, a dark strip of a forest, and a patch of night clutched between them, “there is the planet Graal.”
    “I haven’t heard of it”
    “Not surprising. It’s a new poorly developed world. My interests demand my presence there.”
    Van Curtis suddenly spat into the emptiness and Kay suppressed a smile – this act was completely out of character of the aThan’s owner.
    “It’s good you don’t laugh, Kay. That what you’ve just heard is strictly secret in itself. And I will have to tell you more and trust you even more than that. I’m taking risks…”
    Van Curtis turned to Kay and grasped his shoulder.
    “Do you know what it’s like to be the most powerful man in the galaxy? Billions of people hate me. Those who cannot afford to buy aThan, those who went bankrupt by paying for it, those who can’t stand the luxury of this residence. Billions of hating eyes, millions of hating hands… I pay not only for the protection against potential killers. Apart from that I keep personnel for psychological protection against those ill-wishers which could have some psychic powers even without knowing this themselves. Beyond this residence, beyond Terra, they wouldn’t just kill me, no… They would torment me for years until I go mad and become a nitwit peeing in his pants. No aThan would help me then. Yet, I’m willing to risk…”
    “Do you need a bodyguard?” asked Kay, unbelieving.
    “Not that simple. If I disappear for as little as one day from within these walls it would become known. Competitors, enemies… A hundred of mice would bite a cat to death, Kay. And I am a very fat and lazy cat. I will have to risk and trust this business to my son. And you, Kay Altos, the professional bodyguard will accompany him.
    “I agree… if my agreement matters”, said Kay, “the job is the job, even if it has more risk than usual. You could simply hire me.”
    “Really? And make it so that everybody knew about it? Anyone entering these walls attracts universal attention of many powerful companies and governments. It's even more so for those who leave. But you got here, shall we say, virtually. And you’ll go out the same way.”
    “I see,” Kay forced a smile, “I hope it will be painless.”
    “Well, much less painful than from an algopistol. According to the Cailis police report you’ve been killed with it?”
    Kay didn’t answer.
    “I’ve been waiting for a long time, Kay. I had about a hundred men in view. Experienced pilots, bodyguards, hired killers. It was necessary that some of them died without paying for the aThan renewal. You know, I hope, that neural grid implanted under your thick brainpan always works. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve paid for the aThan or not, it would do its job and send the full report about a missing life to space. The company decides on whether to delete this signal from memory or to copy it to a new body. You didn’t renew your immortality and the regional office has deleted the signal. The body matrix has been deleted too. But I decided otherwise in my exclusive throughout the Empire private resurrector and returned you to life, my young unlucky friend. You do not exist officially anymore, but you’re standing before me.
    “Thank you.” said Kay sincerely.
    “You don’t need to thank me yet. You will work off for every muscle, every gland and even for that shit in your bowels which had to be recreated for a complement. If you get my son to Graal then in addition to the documents and a substantive bank account you’ll get a grand prize. Immortality, Kay! No matter how many times you get yourself killed your aThan would be paid up by the company. Well, is it a fair price?
    “Quite.”
    “I like your reserve, Kay. I’m an old man… even though my body is only fifty years old. I have the right to be talkative. You’re young and you are capable of much… with years. So, Kay, I wish I could provide you with a new body, but experience shows that you wouldn’t be efficient in it. So we’ll have to risk. Tonight, every office of the company will receive the matrices of three persons: Mr. and Mrs. Ovald and their son.
    “Will there be three of us?”
    “No. Only you and Arthur will meet with an accident. You are a freelance trader that roams the frontier. Your ship has crushed… due to sabotage apparently. All of this will be staged; there is a good simulator in the building. You know, the browsing though the memory of a client is forbidden, but there is always some curious smartass. I hope they won’t look any deeper than two or three hours before your death.
    “Did you browse through my memory?”
    “Kay!” Van Curtis thrust his hands in the air. “Perhaps you don’t understand it, but those who set the rules have to play by them. Browsing through memory is forbidden! If an average executive finds out that Van Curtis breaks his own laws even occasionally then my reputation, my empire, all of it would collapse. Moreover, Kay, I don’t give a damn, which particular whore or robber had caught you when you were off guard. I am familiar with your file, Kay. Four times you died shielding the client by yourself, once in an absolutely unequal fight. Once you’ve got drunk and fallen into the river…”
    “I’ve been pushed, Curtis”
    “I don’t care. I hope the price would make you stay on alert and forget about little joys of life… for the sake of life itself.”
    “Of course, Van Curtis.”
    “So, you’ll be resurrected. I don’t know where, Kay, for the sake of your own safety. There are twelve chances out of a hundred that we’re being watched even here.”
    Kay looked in the clear sky.
    “Young man, there are so many screens above us that there is practically no difference between the basement and the roof. So, you’ll be resurrected then you will buy a ship. You’ll have a limited credit otherwise it would raise suspicions. But don’t think of me as of a skinflint. As far as your money are spent there will be additional amounts arriving. Then you will go to Graal. Having my son landed on any safe place you can do whatever you want. And he’ll see to our family business.”
    “Sounds easy, Van Curtis.”
    “Simplicity rules, Kay.”
    “Let’s speak about guarantees then.”
    Van Curtis frowned.
    “What are the guarantees that my aThan would be renewing? Where are the guarantees that once on that precious Graal of yours Curtis the junior wouldn’t beam the back of my head? Where are the guarantees that a dozen of killers wouldn’t go for removing Kay Altos who knows too much?”
    “Well, well, well…” Van Curtis smacked his lips as elderly people do. He walked along the edge of the pad and said with regret:
    “You risk much, Kay…”
    “It’s the profession.”
    For a second Curtis peered at Kay. Kay looked directly in his face struggling with the compulsion to avert the eyes. At last, Curtis laughed:
    “Profession you say? And how do you judge about my profession, the head of galactic corporation … by the movies? Do you know that almost two hundred years ago when my firm had been no more than another curious line in the news one of my bitterest enemies bought the aThan? He died soon in an accident. There weren’t many clients then, nobody simply believed us those days, and the price of life in the world after the conflict in Tucano seemed too high. I directed the resurrection process myself. I could… yes, I could…”
    Curtis stopped speaking looking somewhere afar.
    “Our feud lasted for many more years, Kay. He kept renewing his aThan. At last I bankrupted him. Then Shulman terminated the contract, took off on his yacht and headed for the nearest star.”
    “This could be a gesture dictated by the circumstances” said Kay very mildly.
    “You’re not a fool. A gesture, you say? Of course! But remember, was there a single word about my dishonesty in business among all those lies that are kept pouring on me every hour in every information network? A word at least?”
    Kay shook his head.
    “People don’t work for me for money alone, and not even for life. They are committed because I don’t betray my men.”
    “All right” Key suddenly got tired of arguing. “There is the last question. How do you guarantee my honesty?”
    “Your honesty? It’s quite simple, Kay. There is the neural grid in your brain. If you betray me then sooner or later, in whatever hole you would be hiding, you will face death. And believe me, you’ll resuscitate in this very house. It would happen no later than I hire the best torturers one can buy for money. You would be tortured forever, Kay. It would be your personal hell. Hundreds, thousands of years of torments. Pain would become your air, your food and your dream. You’ll be dying and be resurrected for even stronger pain. You would be given rest in order to intensify your agony later. I would gather writers that would devise new torments and producers that can turn them into a play. I would get sadists from prisons and lovers of human meat from clinics. I would seek help from other races and they would dig up archives of the wars with humans. And you would be brought sometimes here to the most quiet and cozy place of my house and I would remind you this conversation.”
    Curtis Van Curtis, the master of life and death stood before Kay Altos from the planet Altos, the rootless maverick that didn’t even have a surname and talked very calmly and earnestly. When he stopped Kay lifted his arms:
    “You are persuasive, Van Curtis, I’m yours forever.”
    “I never doubted it.” Curtis shivered his shoulders, “It’s chilly, Kay. Let’s go to the study, I don’t want to catch cold on top of my problems.”
    The floor under them obediently went down. They floated in a black capsule of a force field and Van Curtis looked with curiosity over a man whom he had promised the greatest reward and the most horrible ordeals since the beginning of the world. He was a god, a strange god of the Human Empire that got a right to punish and pardon, to kill and return to life. A god that is afraid to step down from his hand-made Olympus.
    “Can your son fly small interstellar ships?” Kay looked as if he’d already forgotten the recent conversation.
    “Not only small ones.”
    “Weapons?”
    “He manages handguns quite well, he’s good with ship mounted weapons, he’s worse with cold weapons… all these planar swords and other exotics.”
    “Is he physically developed?”
    Curtis gave a short laugh and patted his belly:
    “He is, far better that I am. I’d say that he’s in perfect shape for his years.”
    “Well, it’s quite accepta…” Kay raised his eyes. “How old is he, Curtis?”
    “He was born sixteen years ago”, vaguely said Curtis.
    Kay made a wry face, but his grimace was caused more by relief rather than discontent.
    “Biologically though, he’s twelve years old.”
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  18. #18
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    5

    “What is wrong with that, Kay?” Curtis measured the study with paces. Whether it was for the contrast with “the study” on the roof, or for some other reason, this study was very small. It was five by five meters; there was a desk with an armchair and a sofa before it. Kay lounged on the sofa, the owner though couldn’t sit. “A father with his little son doesn’t look suspicious. You’re going to Graal in search of new goods… drugs, ore, exotic animals. What’s the matter?”
    “Curtis, I repeat, I have never worked with children. I simply dislike them.”
    “I’m aware of that! And I know about the asylum on Altos… all that young crowd that had been evacuated from the Three Sisters before Sakkra troops landed. I know about their customs and your misfortunes. I may be unaware of who exactly among your classmates had forced you into a sexual intercourse and who simply dipped your head in a bowl. I know that you were physically the weakest and that you endured a lot. Then you had cut the throats of a couple of your offenders and run away. Then you tagged along with a travelling circus…”
    Key got numb. These were only words for Van Curtis. For Kay, they were…
    “They say that you all on the Second are…”
    “All you have there is two shoals and an ocean of foul water…”
    “Do you have gills? Hey, guys, let’s dip Kay a little bit deeper…”
    He simply got unlucky. He ended up in a block where the boys from the Third planet of “the Three Sisters” the three habitable planets of the Shedar star system lived. It was a simple mistake in documents. Shedar’s the Second and the Third had been at odds for many years right until the day when the Sakkra in search for new living space made the humans to close the ranks. The adults made peace with each other. The adults were flying warships together, the adults were working at factories together, and they were dying in planetary landings together. The children were left with only one war – between themselves.
    “If you behave…”
    “Guys, who’s going to be the first?”
    “Kay, I’ve been told that you do a good…”
    He didn’t notice that he was standing and blocking the path of Curtis who was thinking aloud.
    “Of course, after these sad years, a good attitude from the adults had influenced your mentality. A good psychiatrist could help…”
    “Curtis,” he took his employer by the sleeve of a suit. “You may be a god… or a devil… Even the damn aThan of yours that you have bought from the na
    Send me a PM if you need me.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    4
    “Far away from Earth, far away from Cailis, where you’ve been killed, Kay…” said Van Curtis who stood on the edge of the pad looking down, a bit of ocean, a dark strip of a forest, and a patch of night clutched between them, “there is the planet Graal.”
    “I haven’t heard of it.
    “Not surprising. It’s a new poorly developed world. My interests demand/require my presence there.”
    Van Curtis suddenly spat into the emptiness and Kay suppressed a smile – this act was completely out of character for the aThan’s owner.
    “It’s good you don’t laugh, Kay. What you just heard is strictly secret/confidential in itself. And I will have to tell you more and trust you even more than that. I’m taking risks/chances…”
    Van Curtis turned to Kay and grasped/clutched his shoulder.
    “Do you know what it’s like to be the most powerful man in the galaxy? Billions of people hate me. Those who cannot afford to buy aThan, those who went bankrupt paying for it, and those who can’t stand the luxury of this residence. Billions of hating eyes, millions of hating hands… I pay not only for protection against/from potential killers. Apart from that I keep personnel for psychological protection against those ill-wishers which could have some psychic powers even without knowing this themselves. Beyond this residence, beyond Terra, they wouldn’t just kill me, no… They would torment me for years until I go mad and become a nitwit peeing in his pants. No aThan would help me then. Yet, I’m willing to risk/chance…”
    “Do you need a bodyguard?” asked Kay, unbelieving/not believing all of that.
    “Not that simple. If I disappear for as little as one day from within these walls it would become known. Competitors, enemies… A hundred mice would bite a cat to death, Kay. And I am a very fat and lazy cat. I will have to risk and trust this business to my son. And you, Kay Altos, a professional bodyguard will accompany him/will be by his side protecting him.
    “I agree… if my agreement matters”, said Kay, “a job is a job, even if it has/it entails more risk than usual. You could simply hire me.”
    “Really? And make it so that everybody knows about it? Anyone entering these walls attracts universal attention from many powerful companies and governments. It's even more so for those who leave. But you got here, shall we say, virtually. And you’ll go out the same way.”
    “I see,” Kay forced a smile, “I hope it will be painless.”
    “Well, much less painful than from an algopistol. According to the Cailis police report you’ve been killed with it?”
    Kay didn’t answer.
    “I’ve been waiting for a long time, Kay. I had about a hundred men in mind. Experienced pilots, bodyguards, and hired killers. It was necessary that some of them died without paying for the aThan renewal. You know, I hope, that the neural grid implanted under your thick brainpan always works. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve paid for the aThan or not, it would do its job and send a full report about a missing life to space. The company decides on whether to delete this signal from memory or to copy it to a new body. You didn’t renew your immortality and the regional office has deleted the signal. Your body matrix has been deleted too. But I decided otherwise and used my exclusive throughout ]the Empire private resurrector/regenerator and returned you to life, my young unlucky friend. You do not exist officially anymore, but you’re standing here before me.
    “Thank you.” said Kay sincerely.
    “You don’t need to thank me yet. You will work it off for every muscle, every gland and even for that @@@@ in your bowels which had to be recreated for a complement. If you get my son to Graal then in addition to the documents and a substantive bank account you’ll get the grand prize. Immortality, Kay! No matter how many times you get yourself killed your aThan would be paid up by the company. Well, is it a fair price?
    “Quite.”
    “I like your reserve, Kay. I’m an old man… even though my body is only fifty years old. I have the right to be talkative. You’re young and you are capable of doing much… with your years. So, Kay, I wish I could provide you with a new body, but experience shows that you wouldn’t be efficient in it. So we’ll have to risk/chance it. Tonight, every office of the company will receive the matrices of three persons: Mr. and Mrs. Ovald and their son.
    “Will there be three of us?”
    “No. Only you and Arthur will meet with an accident. You are a freelance trader that roams the frontier. Your ship was crushed/wrecked… due to sabotage apparently. All of this will be staged; there is a good simulator in the building. You know, that browsing though the memory of a client is forbidden, but there is always some curious smartass out there who will do it. I hope they won’t look any deeper/any further back than two or three hours before your death.
    “Did you browse through my memory?”
    “Kay!” Van Curtis thrust his hands in the air. “Perhaps you don’t understand it, but those who set the rules have to play by them. Browsing through memory is forbidden! If an average executive finds out that Van Curtis breaks his own laws even occasionally then my reputation, my empire, all of it would collapse. Moreover, Kay, I don’t give a damn, which particular whore or robber had caught you when you were off guard. I am familiar with your file, Kay. Four times you died shielding the client by yourself, once in an absolutely unequal fight. Once you got drunk and fell into the river…”
    “I was pushed, Curtis”
    “I don’t care. I hope the price/compensation will make you stay on alert and forget about the little joys of life… for the sake of life itself.”
    “Of course, Van Curtis.”
    “So, you’ll be resurrected/regenerated. I don’t know where, Kay, for the sake of your own safety. There are twelve chances out of a hundred that we’re being watched even here.”
    Kay looked up into the clear sky.
    “Young man, there are so many screens above us that there is practically no difference between the basement and the roof. So, you’ll be resurrected/regenerated and then you will buy a ship. You’ll have limited credit otherwise it would raise suspicions. But don’t think of me as of a skinflint. When your money is spent there will be additional amounts arriving. Then you will go to Graal. After landing my son on/at any safe place then you can do whatever you want. And he’ll see to our family business.”
    “Sounds easy, Van Curtis.”
    “Simplicity rules/Keep it simple, Kay.”
    “Let’s speak about guarantees then.”
    Van Curtis frowned.
    “What are the guarantees that my aThan would/will be renewing? Where are the guarantees that once on that precious Graal of yours that Curtis junior wouldn’t beam the back of my head? Where are the guarantees that a dozen killers wouldn’t go for removing/disposing of Kay Altos who knows too much?”
    “Well, well, well…” Van Curtis smacked his lips as elderly people do. He walked along the edge of the pad and said with regret:
    “You risk much, Kay…”
    “It’s the profession.”
    For a second Curtis peered at Kay. Kay looked directly into his face struggling to suppress the compulsion to avert the/his eyes. At last, Curtis laughed:
    “Profession you say? And how do you judge about my profession, the head of a galactic corporation … by the movies? Do you know that almost two hundred years ago when my firm had been no more than another curious line in the news that one of my bitterest enemies bought the aThan? He died soon in an accident. There weren’t many clients then, nobody simply believed us in those days, and the price of life in the world after the conflict in Tucano seemed too high. I directed the resurrection/regeneration process myself. I could… yes, I could…”
    Curtis stopped speaking looking somewhere afar/somewhere off in the distance.
    “Our feud lasted for many more years, Kay. He kept renewing his aThan. At last I bankrupted him. Then Shulman terminated the contract, took off on his yacht/private ship and headed for the nearest star.”
    “This could be a gesture dictated by the circumstances” said Kay very mildly.
    “You’re not a fool. A gesture, you say? Of course! But remember, was there a single word about my dishonesty in business among all those lies that they keep pouring/heaping on me every hour in every information network? A word at least?”
    Kay shook his head.
    “People don’t work for me for money alone, and not even for life. They are committed because I don’t betray my men/betray them.”
    “All right” Kay suddenly got tired of arguing. “There is one last question. How do you guarantee my honesty?”
    “Your honesty? It’s quite simple, Kay. There is the neural grid in your brain. If you betray me then sooner or later, in whatever hole you would be hiding, you will face death. And believe me, you’ll resuscitate/regenerate in this very house. It would happen no later than when I have hired the best torturers one can buy for money. You would be tortured forever, Kay. It would be your personal hell. Hundreds, thousands of years of torments. Pain would become your air, your food and your dream. You’ll be dying and be resurrected/regenerated for even stronger/even more excruciating pain. You would be given rest in order to intensify your agony later. I would gather writers that would devise new torments and producers that can turn them into a play. I would get sadists from prisons and lovers of human meat from clinics. I would seek help from other races and they would dig up archives on the wars with humans. And you would be brought sometimes here to the most quiet and cozy place in my house and I would remind you of this conversation.”
    Curtis Van Curtis, the master of life and death stood/was standing before Kay Altos from the planet Altos, the rootless/homeless maverick who didn’t even have a surname and talked very calmly and earnestly. When he stopped Kay lifted his arms:
    “You are persuasive, Van Curtis, I’m yours forever.”
    “I never doubted it.” Curtis shivered his shoulders, “It’s chilly, Kay. Let’s go to/into the study, I don’t want to catch a cold on top of/to add to my problems.”
    The floor under them obediently went down. They floated in a black capsule in a force field and Van Curtis looked with curiosity over a man to whom he had promised the greatest reward and the most horrible ordeals since the beginning of the world. He was a god, a strange god of the Human Empire that had a right to punish and pardon, to kill and to return to life. A god that is afraid to step down from his hand-made Olympus.
    “Can your son fly small interstellar ships?” Kay looked as if he’d already forgotten the recent conversation.
    “Not only small ones.”
    “Weapons?”
    “He manages handguns quite well, he’s good with ship mounted weapons, he’s worse with cold weapons… all these planar swords and other exotics.”
    “Is he physically developed?”
    Curtis gave a short laugh and patted his belly:
    “He is, far better that I am. I’d say that he’s in perfect shape for his years.”
    “Well, it’s quite accepta…” Kay raised his eyes. “How old is he, Curtis?”
    “He was born sixteen years ago”, said Curtis vaguely.
    Kay made a wry face, but his grimace was caused more by relief rather than discontent.
    “Biologically though, he’s twelve years old.”

  20. #20
    Завсегдатай
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    Jan 2004
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    I'd say "..looking down, where lied a bit of ocean and a dark strip of forest/woods with a patch of night cluched between them"

    or "...looking down, toward a bit of ocean...", etc.

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